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Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

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what did matter was that he was a Polish citizen. The Embassy re-
affirmed this fact in the Note to the Narkomindel in the following terms :
"... Polish legislation is based on the principle of equality before the
law of all citizens, irrespective of their nationality or race. Any enactment
of Soviet law introducing or sanctioning discrimination or differentiation
in this respect, if such there were, are unknown to the Polish Embassy.. ,'*
cc The fact of a given person possessing Polish citizenship is determined
by Polish law and in particular the law of January 20, 1920, concerning the
citizenship of the Polish State."
The Narkomindel declined to acknowledge this protest. According
to the Russians therefore, the matter was settled, but this was not the case
as far as the Poles were concerned. All Polish citizens of non-Polish
blood had now been claimed by the Kremlin. As a result, whenever the
Embassy intervened with the Commissariat for Foreign Affairs on behalf
of Jews, or whenever they wished to appoint Ruthenians, White Ruthen-
ians or Jews as local representatives, the Soviet authorities in most cases
refused to discuss the subject and stated that the persons in question
" were Soviet citizens." They also, as a rule, declined to grant permits
to any such persons, even if they possessed visas for foreign countries,
United Kingdom, the United States, Palestine <?r India, for instance.
On June 9, the Narkomindel sent a Note to the Polish Ambassador
concerning the "determination of Polish citizenship." The Soviet
authorities, it appeared, intended to scrutinise the lists submitted by the
Polish Embassy and only those to whom they (the Soviets) raised no
objection were to be granted Polish passports, and would be recognised
by the Russian Government asc Polish citizens/ Race, origin, creed, or
any non-Polish sounding name had a great bearing on whether or not the
individual received such acknowledgement. The Soviets paid no
attention to the protests of the Polish Government over this matter.
Stalin had thrown out hints regarding a change in the Polish-Russian
frontier while Sikorski had been in Moscow at the beginning of December,
1941. Sikorski's only reply had been, c< the world would scorn me if I
left Moscow having agreed to any commitments regarding a change in
the frontier."*
This may have been the moment when the conviction became firmly
fixed in Stalin's mind that further discussions with the Polish Government
on this subject would be useless. They had parted, each still adhering
to his own opinion. Each presuming that a final settlement would be
reached at the end of the war. If Russia proved victorious, then she would
certainly annex any territory she could possibly get and dispute any agree-
ments previously concluded, or any vows made to the Poles and to the
In January, 1942, the Soviet Government began more openly to lay
their claims to Eastern Poland. The situation on the front had eased and
* Stronski, S0 ibid.